Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Friendship, Humour, Mystery

The Mystery of Montague House Emma Davies 4*# Review @EmDaviesAuthor #BookReview #SummerandWynterMystery #Mystery #cozymystery

When Summer meets Wynter…

With enough rooms to fill a Cluedo board several times over, Montague House has often been the subject of rumour and gossip. Tales of strange goings on, an owner who disappeared one day and was never seen again, not to mention the treasure that rumour has it lies at its heart… But now the present owner has died and the house is to be sold. It looks as if the opportunity has come to finally settle the stories once and for all.

Clodagh Wynter doesn’t believe in ghostly goings on and tall tales of secrets. She has her feet very firmly on the ground and, tasked with the job of valuing and cataloguing the house and all its contents, she’s simply looking forward to working in such a glorious setting. And if she happens across a priceless painting, well, that’s just icing on the cake.

Andie Summer is a Finder of Things and desperately needs this job; she’s down to her last few tins of baked beans. So looking for hidden treasure sounds right up her street, even if there was something very fishy about the mysterious Mr Mayfair who hired her. Because it’s just like she said to her faithful Basset Hound, Hamish; I saw something out of the corner of my eye as I was leaving, and you know what that means. It’s never good news when I see something out of the corner of my eye…

As the unlikely pair are thrown together, it soon becomes very clear however that they are not the only ones searching for the treasure. And they’re going to need all their ingenuity, resourcefulness, not to mention chocolate biscuits, if they’re ever going to untangle the web of secrets that surrounds Montague House. One that reaches even further than they ever thought possible...

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A brand new cosy mystery series features Summer and Wynter, two women who develop an unlikely partnership, being very different personalities. The need to solve the mystery of Montague House draws them together and a friendship forms.

This story builds from slow beginnings to an absorbing, humorous and poignant cosy mystery. Character-driven, there is a cast of characters who mislead and finally surrender the secrets of Montague House.

The setting is atmospheric with undercurrents of menace. Animal friends Smoke and Hamish have cameo roles in this murder mystery which add to its authenticity and make it an engaging read.

Detailed characterisation and intricate world-building make this the first step in a promising new series.

Emma Davies

After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty-something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a fifty-something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.

After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband and three children in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Guest post, Historical Fiction, Humour

The Spy Who Inspired Me Stephen Clarke 5*#Review @sclarkewriter #PAF @RichardsonHelen #humour #historical #WW2 #France #Female #Spy #satirical #BlogTour #BookReview #TheSpyWhoInspiredMe

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author via Helen Richardson PR in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story highlights the role of female spies in WW2. Their commitment and courage is something often overlooked, but many died in service of their country. This story parodies a well-known male fictitious spy as he finds himself in an uncomfortable alliance with a female spy who is everything he isn’t, but would like to be.

Lemming’s major contribution to the war effort appears to be working his way through the females who work alongside him until he meets his match in Margaux. She flatters his ego but makes him uneasy. When they meet again, he realises why.

Thrown in an uneasy alliance the unlikely couple travel to occupied France where Margaux shows Lemming what really happens behind enemy lines. Comically, and once you get to know him predictably, Lemming retreats into his vast imagination and rewrites the story covering himself in glory.

The immersive writing style and relatable characters draw the reader into the fictitious world from the start. Good use of sensory imagery brings the history and location vividly to life, so the reader feels they are on the mission too.

Humour and satire underpin this story making it an enjoyable read with characters, events and places that resonate.

Guest author Post – Stephen Clarke – The Spy Who Inspired Me

My new novel The Spy Who Inspired Me is a reaction against the old-fashioned Bond girl. The most Bond-girlish of them all, for me, is the dubiously named Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. In the original novel, she’s the feisty leader of a lesbian criminal gang, one of the key players in a plan to rob West Point. Then she meets 007, decides he’s cute, and suddenly she’s betraying her criminal chums and turning straight. It’s the same with the clairvoyant Solitaire in Live and Let Die – she sleeps with Bond (her first lover), loses her powers and becomes more or less enslaved to him.

The suggestion is that a woman will abandon all her ill-advised feminine foibles as soon as she meets a “real” man. It’s old-school gender nonsense.

This is why for The Spy Who Inspired Me, I decided to reverse the roles. The spy on the cover, Margaux Lynd, is a tough, highly-trained agent with plenty of mission experience. But when she lands in Occupied France in April 1944, she gets saddled with a scared, inexperienced, older male sidekick who just wants to go home to his clean shirts and his limitless supply of handmade cigarettes. The man is modelled on, but – for legal reasons mainly – not named after Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming. My character’s name is Ian Lemming. (You see, nothing at all like “Fleming”.)

The real Fleming was a suave playboy who spent most of the war in a comfortable Admiralty Office, a world away from the harsh everyday realities of spying. Meanwhile, dozens of women were being sent undercover into Occupied Europe. And they were the inspiration for Margaux Lynd. These real-life heroines joined up with the Resistance and acted as radio operators, go-betweens, recruiters and spies. Many were caught by the Gestapo, and then there was no Bond-like banter with their interrogator before a miraculous dash for freedom and a finale in a luxury bed. It was usually a short trip from the torture chamber to the firing squad.

Women agents were valued by the Allies because they exploited Nazi sexism – most Gestapo officers thought that German Frauen existed to breed Aryan babies, and found it hard to believe that a woman would do perilous “male” work like spying. In many ways, that is what Ian Lemming in The Spy Who Inspired Me believes, too. Only gradually does he come to respect, and then fear, the ruthless female secret agent he is forced to work with.

And as the two of them sneak across Occupied France and into Paris, Lemming begins to fantasize about a world in which a suave male spy would lord it over the ladies, while enjoying all the comforts he’s missing from back home – champagne, hot water, a change of underwear. As a reaction to the humiliations and deprivations he’s suffering, we sense that a macho superhero is being created in his head. And while Lemming fantasizes, his female mentor Margaux Lynd has to concentrate on completing her mission – and begging him never to attempt real undercover work ever again.

The Spy Who Inspired Me published on November 12 by pAf Books.

Stephen Clarke – Image Credit Marie Liss

Stephen Clarke is the bestselling author of the Merde series of comedy
novels (A Year in the Merde, Merde Actually, Dial M for Merde et al) which
have been translated into more than 20 languages and sold more than a
million copies worldwide.

Stephen Clarke has also written several serious-yet-humorous books on Anglo-French history, such as 1000 Years of Annoying the French (a UK number-one bestseller in both
hardback and paperback), How the French Won Waterloo (or Think They Did), and The French Revolution & What Went Wrong. He lives in Paris.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Guest post, Humour, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

A Village Vacancy Julie Houston 5*#Review @JulieHouston2 @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #VillageLife #Romance #Friendships #Family #Secrets #Humour #BlogTour #BookReview #AVillageVacancy #GuestPost

Village Affair comes a laugh out loud new Westenbury tale…

As the Yorkshire village of Westenbury mourns the loss of one of their own, the women can’t help but contemplate who will fill the vacancy in one handsome widower’s life…

Grace Stevens has decided it’s time to move on without her husband. He’s off gallivanting around Devon in search of a new life, and good riddance. It’s time to go back to teaching, so Grace returns to Little Acorns and takes on an unruly class of pre-teens.

As she deals with disasters in – and out of – the classroom including an accidental dalliance with her most troublesome pupil’s dad, helping track down a drug ring and keeping up with her closest girlfriends, Grace begins to wonder more and more about the sparkle in David’s eyes and the sparking chemistry between them.

Could Grace be the one to fill this village vacancy?

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I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A Village Vacancy takes the reader back to the Westenbury for another tale of laughter, love and life. This is a standalone story, but many of the characters previously featured in other books about Westenbury, and you will be intrigued to see what has gone before.

The funeral of one of the village’s enigmatic women introduces the cast of characters. Amanda’s loss is felt both in the community and her personal life. A mystery surrounds her untimely death, which gives this tale of village life an added dimension.

Grace takes centre stage in this story as she copes with her dysfunctional family life and wonders if romantic happiness is within her grasp. Westenbury experiences city problems in this story which are topical and give the story its contemporary edge.

There’s humour, mystery, romance and poignancy in this insightful story which draws the reader into the village and the lives of its inhabitants. The characters are believable and relatable, which makes their stories engaging and memorable.

Julie Houston

Julie Houston is the author of THE ONE SAVING GRACE, GOODNESS, GRACE AND ME and LOOKING FOR LUCY, a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle #1 bestseller. She is married, with two teenage children and a mad cockerpoo and, like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate.

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Guest Post Julie Houston September 2020 –

A VILLAGE VACANCY – Grace

To celebrate the publication of A Village Vacancy, I thought it might be a good idea – as well as helpful to readers who have never met her before – to write a little biography of Grace. While all the Midhope/Westenbury novels can be read as total and utter standalones, this, my eighth novel, gives Grace a leading role as well as showing a greater insight into her character, and I wanted to give a little background information to readers who may have never met her before.

So, while my first novel – Goodness, Grace and Me – has Grace playing a major role, the book is essentially Harriet’s story. In this first book, we learn that Grace and Harriet meet on their very first day at grammar school and both become infatuated with a fifth-former, one Amanda Goodners or Little Miss Goodness as Grace dubs her a couple of years later when Amanda is promoted to head girl. The three women meet up again as adults and Grace, staggering from husband Dan’s infidelity, falls for Mandy Henderson’s (as she now is) much younger son, Sebastian.

In the One Saving Grace, while again this is essentially Harriet’s story, Grace is suffering. Unable to conceive a much-longed for child with husband Dan, she is absolutely over the moon when she falls unexpectedly pregnant to Seb Henderson. Unfortunately, Grace suffers severe post-natal depression which renders her unable to look after her son, Jonty properly and destroys the already flimsy relationship with Seb. My intention was to show that Post-natal depression does not discriminate or care who it chooses and can – and does – affect even the most confident, intelligent and outgoing women such as Grace.

I’ve always wanted the reader to have an impression of Grace as a strong, confident and independent woman which she clearly is. While An Off Piste Christmas takes Grace onto the next stage of her life when she becomes the mother of Pietronella who has Down’s Syndrome, all my other Westenbury novels feature Grace only fleetingly where she, together with Harriet, take on much smaller cameo roles.

It was an email from a reader last year asking what was happening to Grace, and could I write a book with her as the main character, that brought about the idea for A Village Vacancy. In this book, published by Aria on October 22nd, I have allowed Grace centre stage. While she might have perhaps previously played a lesser role to Harriet, this one is certainly Grace’s story.

A couple of reviewers have referred to Grace as a maneater who appears happy to discard her husband, Dan when the marriage breaks down once more and Dan moves out. This certainly wasn’t my intention to have Grace viewed as such. Yes, she makes a huge mistake at the start of the book, but this, I want the reader to appreciate, is totally out of character. She tries to argue that she is a strong, independent woman who has the right, on occasion, to please herself as to how she behaves, but deep down she is embarrassed and ashamed as to what she got up to on that night out in Leeds, and I would hate the reader to think of her as naturally promiscuous; she isn’t. Foolhardy, yes, amoral, no.

I wanted to show that the breakdown of two major relationships together with the terrible post-natal depression have combined to leave Grace both vulnerable and desperate for a serious, ‘proper’ relationship for both herself and her two children. If she comes a bit of a cropper in the attempt, I hope the reader will not condemn her but empathise, sympathise even, with what she’s going through. After all, life for many of us isn’t always that straightforward. We are human; we make mistakes.

Luckily, for Grace, there will be a happy ever after.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Humour, Romance

One Family Christmas Bella Osborne 5*#Review @osborne_bella @AvonBooksUK #Festive #Christmas #Family #drama #humour #Secrets @rararesources #OneFamilyChristmas

A big family. A whole lot of secrets. A Christmas to remember…

This year, Lottie is hosting one last big family Christmas at the home she grew up in – just like her Nana would have wanted.

But when her relatives descend on the old manor house, Lottie gets more than she bargained for. Every family has its secrets, but in this family, everybody has one!

So, between cooking a Christmas dinner, keeping tensions at bay and a stray dog out of mischief, she has plenty on her plate and not just misshapen sausage rolls and a frozen turkey. And then her first love shows up – nine years after he walked out of her life.

Can Lottie make their last family Christmas one to remember… for the right reasons?

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I received a copy of this book from Avon Book UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

It’s always fun when one of your favourite authors writes a festive book, and this one has laughter, love and life in abundance. Lottie wants to have a perfect family Christmas for her lovely Nana Rose, but the reality isn’t quite as rosy as the dream. Like many families, Lottie’s family has its eccentric members and secrets, but when they all in the same house, its a recipe for mayhem.

Lottie’s inability to cook is one obstacle and the emerging secrets from her family is another, but this makes for a fun read with touches of poignancy and romance that is likely to have you recalling past family Christmases. Every character adds to the story, especially the animals and you are left with a smile on your face when you reach the last page, lovely.

Bella Osborne

Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel. Since then she’s written six best selling romantic comedies and she’s been shortlisted three times for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She lives in The Midlands, UK with her husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. When not writing Bella is usually eating custard creams and planning holidays.

For more about Bella, visit her website at www.bellaosborne.com or follow her on social media.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Humour, Literary Humour, Romance

One Winter’s Night Kiley Dunbar 4*#Review @KileyDunbar @HeraBooks @rararesources #Romance #Friendship #festive #humour #Literary #BlogTour #BookReview #Shakespeare #OneWintersNight

A gorgeously uplifting, romantic read that will warm your heart – take a trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon, where magic happens…

It’s autumn in beautiful Stratford-Upon-Avon and Kelsey Anderson is enjoying her new life in her adopted town. Her Shakespearean tour guide days behind her, she’s now opened her own photography studio and loved up with boyfriend Jonathan – even if a long-distance relationship is sometimes lonely.

When best friend Mirren Imrie moves down from Scotland, Kelsey is delighted to have her friend at her side – and as the nights turn colder, Mirren throws herself into dating, until she finds herself growing closer to sexy journalist, Adrian Armadale. But when Mirren uncovers a long-buried scandal while working at the local newspaper, her big scoop might throw Kelsey’s – and Jonathan’s – life upside down. Will she choose her career over her friends’ happiness?

And when Jonathan returns from America and discovers the secrets Mirren has uncovered about his family, it throws his relationship with Kelsey onto shaky ground. Can they find their way back to love, before it becomes the winter of their discontent?

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

There is an impressive originality in this romantic story. The setting in Stratford provides a vivid backdrop for this literary romance.

Kelsey is a positive character, who moves forward despite her fears and lack of confidence. Mirren is flawed, but well-motivated and values her friendship with Kelsey. I haven’t read the earlier book, but this reads well as a standalone.

Mystery, romance and scandal are woven into this engaging story, which tests relationships and the protagonists’ morals. The pacing is gentle, there are lots of details and introspection, but this is a lovely story with a festive twist.

Kiley Dunbar

Hi, I’m Kiley Dunbar, author of heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places.

If you’re looking for travel adventures, swoony heroes, and dreamy escapism that will let you forget the world just for a wee while then I’m your author.

Take your pick from my first three novels:

Summer at the Highland Coral Beach (2020), the first in the Port Willow Bay Series, takes you on an impromptu crafting holiday in the Scottish Highlands and reminds us that after the storm comes the rainbow. Crafts, ceilidhs, coral bays and gentle recovery. (Part two coming September 2021 – both parts can be read alone)

Christmas at Frozen Falls (2019) will fly you to snowy, remote Finnish Lapland over Christmas where Sylvie Magnussen is getting a second chance at love with an old flame – sexy Stellan Virtanen – the one who got away – well, he ran away actually, and Sylvie never understood why. Hot kisses in a cold climate, Northern lights and a stunning resort setting. (Standalone novel)


One Summer’s Night (2019) whisks you away on a working staycation in beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon during a sultry heatwave summer. Kelsey Anderson, Shakespeare nerd and aspiring photographer, navigates her new life in a new town. A starting over story, handsome actors, backstage passes, and a whole lot of drama in the Heart of England. (Sequel coming September 2020 – both parts can be read alone)

And if you’ve enjoyed one of my books I’d be thrilled if you left a review! Thanks a million, Love, Kiley, x

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Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Humour, Romance

The Terraced House Diaries Samantha Henthorn 5*#Review @SamanthaHfinds #Narrator Lindsay McKinnon @LindzMcKinnon @RandomTTours #Audiobook #Review #BlogTour #CurmudgeonAvenueSeries #satire #TheTerracedHouseDiaries #humour #Romance #Family#Drama

When Curmudgeon Avenue introduces sisters Edna and Edith Payne, their presence is not welcomed by the proud, yet grouchy Victorian terrace. 

Widowed Edith is looking for love and dates one of Edna’s ex-boyfriends, Maurice. 

This does not end well, especially for the cat. 

Edna is heartbroken after her long term partner moved to France and is now unhappily cohabiting with her idiot sister. 

Edith’s son Ricky Ricketts permanently hangs around Curmudgeon Avenue with his on/off girlfriend Wantha, her sister Toonan and all the tomfoolery they bring.

The sisters decide to advertise for a lodger, and the notable Harold Goatshed moves in. 

He is yet another of Edna’s exes. 

Still vulnerable from the Maurice incident, Edith falls for his charms. 

This delightful social satire tells of the quarrels, romances and dramas of the intertwined lives of Curmudgeon Avenue’s residents.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this audiobook from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a quirky story about a house and its occupants in the North West of England. The house at number one Curmudgeon Avenue is gossipy, opinionated and snobby. Drawn into a strange world of family drama, romance and secrets, the reader is treated to a unique insight into life within the walls of Curmudgeon Avenue.

The story has lots of characters brought to life by the narrator. Sensual imagery makes listening to this story an inclusive experience, though there are some scenes you wish were described less well.

The humour is plentiful and quintessentially English, I loved it. Irreverence and satire lift the story out of the everyday into something special.

The narration is professional and makes the story an addictive listening experience.

The next book in the series previews at the end of the audiobook and that sounds just as good.

Samantha Henthorn

Samantha Henthorn was born in 1970something in Bury, England. She has had short stories and poetry published in magazines. Her books include the Curmudgeon Avenue series (The Terraced House Diaries and The Harold and Edith adventures). ‘1962’, ‘Quirky Tales to Make Your Day’ and ‘Piccalilly’ 

She has two cats, one dog, one gorgeous grown up daughter and one husband. When not reading or writing, she is listening to heavy metal and would be thrilled to bits if someone read her books. 

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour

Queen Bee Jane Fallon 4*#Review @JaneFallon @MichaelJBooks #Revenge #Humour #Women #Relationships #publicationday #QueenBee

When Laura’s marriage falls apart she needs to find a home for her and her daughter. And quickly.

Welcome to The Close, a beautiful street of mansions, where Laura rents a tiny studio above a garage, and gorgeous Stella is the indisputable Queen Bee – who soon suspects Laura of having designs on her fiancé.

But when Laura unearths the ghastly secret he is hiding, it threatens Stella’s perfectly curated world as well as Laura’s career.

Hatching an elaborate plan to beat him at his own game, these former enemies are now best friends.

But has Laura forgotten that revenge always comes with a sting in the tail?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK -Michael Joseph in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

There’s excellent escapism in this story whose characters are just on the right side of stereotypical. Laura finds herself in an upmarket area of London when she needs a bolt hole at the end of her marriage. Finding a nanny annexe in the exclusive close seems serendipitous until she meets the locals.

Think ‘Gossip Girl’ but older and you’ll appreciate the hierarchy among the female residents. Stella ‘Queen Bee’ sees Laura as a rival and sets out to cold-shoulder her from the group. Al Stella’s fiancé is the cause of the discord. Laura is determined to uncover his secrets. This leads to a strange alliance with Stella, as they plot revenge.

This amusing, often satirical observation of ‘The Close’s’ residents is easy to read. The shallowness and lack of self-worth evident, in some of the women, is poignant and adds another layer to this absorbing story.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Humour, Memoir, Motivational, Non-Fiction

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds 2 4*#Review @Nickalbertautho #Audiobook #AudiobookReview #BlogTour #RuralLife #Ireland #Memoir #NonFiction #AudibleUK #FreshEggsandDogBeds2 @rararesources

Nick and Lesley’s desire for a better life in the countryside was a long-held dream. Unforeseen events and a leap of faith forced that dream into reality, but moving to rural Ireland was only the beginning of their story.
Foreigners in a foreign land, they set about making new friends, learning the culture and expanding their collection of chickens and unruly dogs. But their dream home was in desperate need of renovation, a mammoth task they attacked with the aid of a DIY manual, dwindling funds and incompetent enthusiasm. With defunct diggers, collapsing ladders, and shocking electrics, what could possibly go wrong?
Will their new life live up to expectations, or will the Irish weather, dangerous roads, and a cruel twist of fate turn this dream into a nightmare?

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I received an audiobook from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Living the country dream in Ireland was how we left Nick and Lesley at the end of book 1. Book 2 details what life is like and the ups and downs of renovation. The honesty and humour are the unique selling point of this series. It’s not just the good bits it’s the bad bits too. There are many poignant events in this memoir that make the listener empathise.

For anyone who’s ever renovated their home, you’ll be agreeing with Nick’s observations and chuckling at the mistakes and the near disasters. Add in the peculiarities of an unfamiliar country and its a recipe for misunderstandings and subsequent laughter.

The animals are still front and centre in Nick’s life, and there are many anecdotes some hilarious, some sad in this story. What shines through is the sharing of a dream, the courage and the innate sense of humour of the storyteller and his wife.

I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment. The narration is first-class brings the characters to life.

Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.
In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in 2020.

Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour, Romance, Romantic Comedy

The Never Have I Ever Club Mary Jayne Baker 5*Review @MaryJayneBaker @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #RomCom #humour #multigenerational #ContemporaryFiction #uplit #BlogTour #BookReview #TheNeverHaveIEverClub

Robyn Bloom thought Ash Barnes was the love of her life – until one day he announced he was leaving her to fly halfway across the world.

 Months later, Robyn is struggling to move on – but then she has a brainwave: The Never Have I Ever Club. Her handsome next-door neighbour Will helps her bring their fellow Yorkshire villagers together for some carpe-diem-inspired fun.

From burlesque dancing to Swedish massages, everyone has plenty of bucket-list activities to try, but it doesn’t take long for Robyn to realise what – or who – her heart truly desires: Will.

There’s just one problem: he’s Ash’s twin brother.

Make that two problems: Ash is moving home… and he wants Robyn back.

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I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story is full of charm and humour, which engages you from the first page. Robyn and Will are both likeable protagonists, and you want their attraction to mean something good. Ash is harder to empathise his callous treatment of Robyn is hard to forget. Freya and Eliot are notable characters too.

The story’s multigenerational aspect provides lots of laughs and some poignant moments. It adds authenticity, depth and variety to the story, which is much more than a romance.

Mary Jayne Baker grew up in rural West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country… and she’s still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature, she dallied with living in cities including London, Nottingham and Cambridge, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales, where she first started telling stories about heroines with flaws and the men who love them.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Humour, Romance, Travel

The Jetsetters Amanda Eyre Ward 4*#Review @amandaeyreward @PenguinUKBooks #Family #Drama #Relationships #Life #Love #Friendship Parents #Children #Secrets #Lies #Travel #TheJetsetters #BookReview

A family reunited on a holiday of a lifetime…what could possibly go wrong?

When 70-year-old Charlotte Perkins submits an essay to the ‘Become a Jetsetter’ contest, she dreams of reuniting her estranged children: Lee, an almost-famous actress; Cord, a handsome Manhattan venture capitalist; and Regan, a harried mother who has never forgiven Charlotte for buying her a Weight Watchers gift certificate for her birthday.

But when she wins the cruise, the reality is not quite as she expected. As they sail from sun-drenched Athens, to glorious Rome, to tapas-laden Barcelona, lovers old and new join the adventure, and long-buried secrets are revealed.

Can four lost adults find their way back to themselves, and to each other? And more importantly, can they do it without killing each other?

A funny and deliciously sun-scented novel about the courage it takes to reveal our true selves, the pleasures and perils of family, and how we navigate the seas of adulthood to cruise – we can only hope – toward joy.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Penguin Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story has the perfect mix of family drama and exciting holiday destinations. Charlotte is determined to reunite her family after losing her closest friend. Entering a writing competition, to win a cruise, seems the right thing to do. The story gives insight into past relationships and secrets the family members are keeping. The cruise ship setting works well. There’s nowhere to run, and this intensifies family tensions.

Brittle and flawed characters gradually share their past and present issues, making them easy to empathise. The family dynamic is complex but relatable. The intense emotion relieved by humorous moments.

The vividly described holiday locations add contrast to the story too. The vibrant imagery makes this story a sensory delight. The perfect balance to the literary dialogue as the family drama unfolds.